Effect of insulin sensitizer therapy on amino acids and their metabolites

Brian A. Irving, Rickey E. Carter, Mattias Soop, Audrey Weymiller, Husnain Syed, Helen Karakelides, Sumit Bhagra, Kevin R. Short, Laura Tatpati, Rocco Barazzoni, K. Sreekumaran Nair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Aims Prior studies have reported that elevated concentrations of several plasma amino acids (AA), particularly branched chain (BCAA) and aromatic AA predict the onset of type 2 diabetes. We sought to test the hypothesis that circulating BCAA, aromatic AA and related AA metabolites decline in response to the use of insulin sensitizing agents in overweight/obese adults with impaired fasting glucose or untreated diabetes. Methods We performed a secondary analysis of a randomized, double-blind, placebo, controlled study conducted in twenty five overweight/obese (BMI ~ 30 kg/m2) adults with impaired fasting glucose or untreated diabetes. Participants were randomized to three months of pioglitazone (45 mg per day) plus metformin (1000 mg twice per day, N = 12 participants) or placebo (N = 13). We measured insulin sensitivity by the euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp and fasting concentrations of AA and AA metabolites using ultra-pressure liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry before and after the three-month intervention. Results Insulin sensitizer therapy that significantly enhanced insulin sensitivity reduced 9 out of 33 AA and AA metabolites measured compared to placebo treatment. Moreover, insulin sensitizer therapy significantly reduced three functionally clustered AA and metabolite pairs: i) phenylalanine/tyrosine, ii) citrulline/arginine, and iii) lysine/α-aminoadipic acid. Conclusions Reductions in plasma concentrations of several AA and AA metabolites in response to three months of insulin sensitizer therapy support the concept that reduced insulin sensitivity alters AA and AA metabolites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)720-728
Number of pages9
JournalMetabolism: Clinical and Experimental
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Biomarkers
  • Diabetes
  • Insulin resistance
  • Metabolomics
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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